F1 Today – 04/08/2021

F1 Today

Bottas says nothing could avoid Turn One crash

Valtteri Bottas says there was nothing he could have done to correct his braking error which caused the multi-car pile-up at the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix. On a damp track Bottas made a bad start with lots of wheelspin on his intermediates, and after dropping to fifth from his front-row starting spot, lost control under braking for the first corner.

After losing control, the Finn went into the back of Lando Norris pushing the McLaren into the back of Max Verstappen, while Bottas went on to hit the back of Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez. Of the four drivers involved in the collision, Verstappen was the only driver to start following the restart.

Bottas told Motorsport.com, “Obviously my mistake. I was the one coming from behind, and it’s up to me to brake early enough. But I misjudged the braking point. It shows it’s not so easy in those conditions to brake, but I should have braked earlier.”

“When I started braking I was closing in, and then I locked the wheels and I hit Lando and that caused the whole mess. It was hard to judge where to brake. And when I did, I quite quickly noticed it was too late and then after that, there’s nothing you can do. Just calculating the braking point, trying to figure out how much grip you have, it’s not easy.”

Bottas has apologised to Norris and Perez, he says that he might have been distracted by Norris passing him down the inside. He says that you can lose a little bit of sense of where you are in the first corner, admitting he should have braked earlier. Also saying its difficult to know how much grip there is with the spray.

Bottas also says he had a poor getaway saying that why the clutch at the right time for the conditions but still had to contend with wheelspin.

he accepts the grid penalty for Spa in the knowledge that it won’t be as big a handicap as at some other venues. Adding, “I’ll take it, obviously it’s not ideal, but at least in the next race it is possible to overtake so it’s not like the weekend is over,” he added. “It’s just going to make it more difficult but if that’s the decision, that’s what it is.

 

Leclerc likely to face engine penalty

Charles Leclerc is likely to face grid penalties later this season after Ferrari declared his car’s current engine a write-off as a result of the opening corner collision at Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Leclerc was shunted off at the first corner by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll on a chaotic opening lap before the race was red-flagged. Ferrari said in a statement on Tuesday that Leclerc had been an “innocent victim” and was robbed of the chance of a great result.

The statement added, “Examination of the number 16 SF21 (car) carried out yesterday in Maranello revealed that on top of this, the engine was irreparably damaged and cannot be used again.”

“This damage has a financial impact and also racing ramifications, given that over the remaining 12 race weekends this season, it is highly likely the team could be obliged to fit a fourth ICE (engine)… thus incurring grid penalties.”

Each car is limited to three engines per season and using a fourth would incur a ten-place penalty.

 

Ocon didn’t feel “rusty” fighting for first win in six years

Esteban Ocon says he didn’t feel “rusty” fighting for his first win in six years following his maiden win in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The Alpine driver benefitted from the first corner incidents and strategy miscue by Mercedes to move into the lead of the race on Lap 5 before controlling proceedings en route to a surprise win for Alpine.

Ocon spent the majority of the race being chased by Sebastian Vettel, with the Aston Martin driver never managing to get close enough despite being within DRS range for significant periods but never able to get close enough to attempt an overtake.

It marked the first time that Ocon had led in F1, and was his first victory since his taking his sole GP3 win in May 2015 in Barcelona. But despite not having recent experience fighting at the very front of the field, Ocon explained after the race that he felt no lack of sharpness.

The Frenchman told Motorsport.com, “No, I didn’t feel rusty, and I’m sorry to disappoint, but it’s easier to fight at the front like we did now, to manage the opponents that are behind than to fight in the midfield how we are doing [usually].”

That is much harder. So the whole time in Formula 1 I had pretty good training. The fight in the midfield is a lot tougher than what’s happening in the front. It was hard with Seb putting a lot of pressure. He gave me a hard time, but when you are ahead, you have clean air, you are the one who is dictating the pace on such a track.”

Vettel would later be disqualified from the race, but the four-time champion believes he was faster than Ocon which made him frustrated that he could not catch and pass the Alpine driver.

During the race, however, Ocon believed he had made the wrong call when he was leading the train of cars into the pits at the end of the second formation lap, while Hamilton took the standing start alone on the grid. Ocon said it was a “difficult decision” to switch to slicks, noting that “Lewis normally doesn’t take wrong decisions”.

Ocon said “I’ve never seen him taking a wrong decision, so to box when you are P2 on the road, it’s a bit heartbreaking at first. But I’m glad that we did it because we were a long way ahead. The guys did a great pit stop as well.”

“Sebastian had a slow stop, that’s probably what made the difference because they would probably have undercut us on that. So yeah, the guys in the garage again, top job by them.”

 

Bottas Future not decided by Budapest crash – Wolff

Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas’s first-corner crash in Hungary will not have any impact on its driver decision for 2022. The German manufacturer is currently deciding whether to retain the Finn or promote Williams driver George Russell.

Russell has been part of Mercedes’ young driver programme since 2017 and has impressed in F1 since making his debut with Williams in 2019. He scored his first points for the team in Hungary last weekend, finishing eighth. The Englishman was aided by Bottas’s crash as well as the seven others caught up in the two incidents at Turn One, one of which was triggered by Bottas.

The Mercedes driver misjudged his braking point and slid into the rear of Lando Norris, whose McLaren then careered into Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Bottas’s car continued into the path of Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, with all drivers bar Verstappen forced to retire due to damage.

Bottas apologised and took full blame for the incident, and was hit with a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix after the summer break.

Wolff made clear that Bottas’s mistake would not have an impact on the team’s driver decision for 2022. He told Motorsport.com, “No, the mistake was unfortunate with big consequences. He got sandwiched by the two cars in front, lost all downforce, and then it was already too late. It doesn’t influence at all the decision.”

Mercedes are expected to make the decision between Budapest and Spa, which would be the first major domino to fall in the driver market for next year.

Bottas felt disappointed after his third retirement of the 2021 season, having collided with Russell at Imola in the wet and lost a comfortable second-place finish at Monaco due to a wheel nut failure.

 

Points for Williams can’t be put into words – Russell

George Russell says scoring his first points for Williams in the Hungarian Grand Prix meant “more than I can put into words”, but was surprised by his teary reaction to the breakthrough. The Englishman finished eighth allowing him to score his first points as a Williams driver, his first since driving for Mercedes in Sakhir last year.

The team scored its first double points finish since Interlagos 2017, with Russell and teammate Nicolas Latifi vaulted into the top ten following the collisions in the first corner.

After several near-misses with the points this year, Russell was emotional after the race, shedding some tears as he began his interviews with the media. He explained in the paddock at the Hungaroring that he hadn’t expected to be so emotional, but that it summed up the journey he and Williams had been on since the struggles of 2019.

Saying “I literally shed a tear, which I was not expecting. I probably wouldn’t have shed a tear if I won my first race, to be honest. That’s how much it means. It means more than I can put into words, thinking of the ride we’ve been through this past three years. If you’re fighting for something for three years and you finally get it.”

“It was an incredible stint on our side of the garage. That second stint was probably the best stint of my whole career. Keeping Danny [Ricciardo] behind, keeping Max [Verstappen] behind, closing the gap by 20 seconds to the cars ahead, it was exceptional.”

Russell temporary ran second after pitting at the end of the formation lap, he admitted that he was concerned about getting a drive-through penalty. Saying he was grateful the stewards showed “a bit of common sense” by asking him to give the positions back instead of immediately taking action, having feared he could receive a drive-through penalty.

He says he took a risk because it benefits outweighed the rewards, and knew that he could have been told to give the place back or a drive-through penalty.

Russell added, “I saw an opportunity. I just thought, screw it, let’s go for it because the risk versus reward, the reward part outweighed the risk. I’m really thankful to the FIA for showing a bit of common sense just to say, ‘Give those positions back’. They could have come through and given me a drive-through [penalty].”

 

Vettel disqualified for technical infringement, fine for wearing wrong T-shirt

Sebastian Vettel was disqualified from the Hungarian Grand Prix for a fuel rules breach after the race, losing his second place for Aston Martin. However, the team has lodged an intent to appeal and they have until tomorrow to formally launch the protest to the FIA.

Pending the official appeal, Sir Lewis Hamilton up to second in the race, and Carlos Sainz into third. The four-time champion Vettel had driven superbly on Sunday, narrowly missing out on the win on a chaotic afternoon, before taking his second runner-up berth of the season.

He was disqualified following the race as during the scrutineering process the FIA could not take a fuel sample.  F1 regulations state that “competitors must ensure that a 1.0-litre sample of fuel may be taken at any time during the event” – and only an insufficient 300ml could be removed from Vettel’s Aston Martin in Budapest.

The stewards report read “After the race it was not possible to take a 1.0-litre sample of fuel from car 5 (Vettel). The team was given several opportunities to attempt to remove the required amount of fuel from the tank, however, it was only possible to pump 0.3 litres out.”

“During the hearing in [the] presence of the FIA technical delegate and the FIA technical director the team principal of Aston Martin stated that there must be 1.44 litres left in the tank, but they are not able to get it out.”

“According to Art. 6.6.2 competitors must ensure that a 1.0-litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time. The procedure was followed however the 1.0-litre sample of fuel was unable to be taken.”

Vettel, along with Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll, was also given a reprimand by the steward for not removing T-shirts carrying messaging related to the sport’s We Race As One initiative for the Hungarian national anthem.

Vettel who has shown his support for the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary at this weekend’s event following controversial legislation imposed in the country recently was wearing a ‘same love’ rainbow T-shirt ahead of the race, which he also wore during the anthem.

 

Hamilton “proud” Vettel standing up for LGBTQ+ rights

Sir Lewis Hamilton felt “proud” of Sebastian Vettel for standing up for LGBTQ+ rights in Hungary last weekend after the Aston Martin driver was reprimanded for breaking FIA protocol.

Both Hamilton and Vettel have spoken out against the governments nti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the build-up to the race weekend at the Hungaroring, with Vettel wearing a pair of rainbow trainers in the paddock on Thursday.

On the grid ahead of the race, Vettel put on a rainbow-coloured t-shirt with the words “Same Love” written on the front, which he wore on the grid during the pre-race ceremonies. That resulted in Vettel being reprimanded for failure to follow the race director’s instructions, with Carlos Sainz, Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll also receiving a reprimand after they kept on their We Race As One t-shirts.

Prior to the FIA’s ruling, Vettel said he would be “happy if they disqualify me” over wearing the t-shirt, adding: “They can do whatever they want to me, I don’t care. I would do it again.”

Asked by Motorsport.com, about Vettel’s t-shirt, Hamilton praised the four-time F1 world champion for speaking up and helping the push for greater inclusivity within the sport.

Hamilton said, “I think it’s wonderful that Seb has taken a stance this weekend, really to speak out for those in the LGBTQ+ community here. I spoke about it the beginning of the weekend. I think it was important for him to do so. He probably won’t be in too much trouble.”

“But we have to make a stand. We’re pushing for diversity and inclusivity, and that community, 100%, is included in that. I’m proud of him for it.” As well as his t-shirt Vettel’s race helmet for the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend featured a prominent pride flag as part of the design.

Hungary implemented the law last month, similar to Section 28 in the UK between  preventing the depiction and teaching of homosexuality or transgender issues to under 18s, sparking widespread condemnation across Europe.

 

Hamilton believes he’s suffering from long COVID

Sir Lewis Hamilton thinks he is suffering from long COVID, after being attended to by a team doctor following Hungarian Grand Prix. Following Sunday’s race the seven-time champion was extremely fatigued and felt some mild dizziness after battling hard to grab a podium finish at the Hungaroring.

After feeling uncomfortable on the podium, he delayed his post-race media commitments so he could be looked at by the Mercedes team doctor. Feeling better later on, Hamilton duly appeared at the mandatory FIA press conference and also completed his regular television interviews.

During those media commitments, Hamilton said the efforts in Hungary had knocked the wind out of his sails. He told Motorsport.com, “I’m just so exhausted afterwards. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had on the podium,”

Hamilton tested positive for the virus following his victory in Bahrain last November, he suspects that long COVID, where virus victims suffer tiredness for months after catching coronavirus, could be at play.

Adding, “I had real dizziness, and everything got a bit blurry on the podium. I’ve been fighting all year, really, with the health, you know staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year and it’s still… it’s a battle.”

The Englishman says that Budapest was not the first time that he has felt more fatigue than normal this year, as he suspects that long COVID, where virus victims suffer tiredness for months after catching coronavirus, could be at play. Hamilton says that he has not spoken to anyone about the effects.

Hamilton says he will continue to try and train and prepare in the best way he can, but it could also be hydration. He says he had a similar experience at Silverstone.

Pourchaire to take part in private test

Theo Pourchaire is set to have his first taste of a Formula One car in a private test with Alfa Romeo at the Hungaroring. The F2 driver is a member of the Sauber Academy, which owns the teams operating licence, Pourchaire will drive the 2019 car.

Pourchaire will share the track with Ferrari and McLaren, all taking part in a 2022 Pirelli 18-inch tyre test. This will be the 17-year-old first experience of F1 machinery and the latest milestone in the Frenchman’s meteoric rise up the junior single-seater ladder.

Pourchaire has turned heads this season in his rookie F2 season by becoming the championship’s youngest ever polesitter and race winner following a stunning debut at Monaco in May.

The test comes following his recovery from a broken wrist following a crash on the opening lap of the feature race in F2 during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but managed to return for the following race at the British Grand Prix.

Pourchaire, who sits sixth in the F2 standings, managed to succeed in his race against time to prove his fitness to compete at the British Grand Prix round of the F2 championship last month. While the teenager has set his sights on reaching F1, he told Motorsport.com in May that he is “really far” from his dream and that he still has “plenty to learn”.

Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur has been keeping a close eye on his junior driver’s progress but admitted in June that it would be wrong to push Pourchaire info F1 “too early”. Adding “We have a contract with Theo, but again I don’t want to be in a rush with Theo, we have to keep in mind that he is 17.”

“I was impressed by Theo [this year] but I was also impressed by Theo last year. For next year it is a bit too early as he has only done three races in F2 and if you remember in the past the guys were able to be champion or to have good results in the first year and in the last part of the season.”

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.